Eventually, VLC may be the foundation for 6G wireless communications. While widespread implementation of 5G wireless networks is just getting underway, a new study is already anticipating the advent of 6G networks, which involves humans being used as antennas for upcoming generation wireless technology.
As a nod to the fact, 5G, which is the fifth and newest generation of cellular broadband networks, is still in its early stages. The millimeter-wave frequencies used by real 5G networks, which are between 30 and 300 Gigahertz, are 10 to 100 times higher than those used by the previous generation of cellular networks, 4G. (However, some mobile service providers take the sly route of falsely labelling the highest 4G frequencies as 5G).
In contrast to previous technologies, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst think that employing humans as antennas to power 6G may be the most viable option to gather additional energy that would otherwise be lost.
In particular, the usage of Visible Light Communication (VLC), a wireless alternative to fiberoptics, could be beneficial for 6G communications. In the present day, information is transmitted via light flashes via fibreoptics, which use extremely thin strands of glass or plastic. These wires are little and fragile to an extreme degree.
The group from UMass Amherst claims to have come up with a novel, inexpensive way to capture VLC waste energy by using the human body as an antenna. Their invention, which harnesses unused energy, could one day supply power for widespread use in wearable and other electronic devices.
UMass Amherst professor of information and computer sciences Jie Xiong was quoted in a press release as saying, “VLC is pretty straightforward and engaging.” “Instead of using radio signals to send information wirelessly, it uses the light from LEDs that can turn on and off, up to one million times per second.”
VLC’s allure for the development of future wireless technologies stems from the fact that the necessary infrastructure is already in place to support it. LED bulbs may also be sharing data as they illuminate our homes, vehicles, streets, and businesses thanks to modern technology and smart technologies.
“Anything with a camera, like our smartphones, tablets or laptops, could be the receiver,” Xiong said.
As a result of the emission of side-channel radio wave signals, VLC suffers from a significant “leakage” of energy. If the researchers are successful in collecting the unused RF energy, they will be able to use it to charge miniature electronics.
Researchers tried out a wide variety of wire thicknesses and coatings. Author Minhao Cui tried wrapping the coil around a human body after testing it on various materials (including plastic, cardboard, wood, and steel) and states (including on and off) of electrical devices (such as phones and computers).
What do you think is in store for us in the future? Do you think it’s inevitable one day, that we humans will end up being antennas providing power to 6G? or do you think it’s just a crackpot thesis?